Join Goodebox Before July 31st for a Sneak Peek of ANFGB Brands

Have you seen the limited edition beauty boxes from Goodebox promoting the highly anticipated “A Night For Green Beauty” (like here or here)? Well Goodebox seems to understand that not everyone can make it to ANFGB or get in on one of the limited edition boxes. They will be spreading the green beauty love by promoting ANFGB brands to members who join Goodebox by July 31st. Goodebox sent out the following message (which seems to be shrouded in a bit of mystery).

Did you miss out on one of our limited-edition A Night For Green Beauty Deluxe Goodeboxes? Curious to try the Goodebox service as a whole? Members who join before 7/31 will get the opportunity to try some of these AMAZING brands!

Goodebox ANFGB

The message does not indicate how many of the brands featured in the graphic will appear in the boxes or if there will be variety among boxes. In addition, I cannot tell if all Goodebox members will receive this ANFGB box in August or if it will be a special treat for new members only. Lastly, I noticed that the text of the message mentions a July 31st deadline, but the graphic shows August 31st (my money is on July 31st since ANFGB is scheduled to happen on August 6th and it wouldn’t be much of a sneak peek after the fact). I will be reaching out to Goodebox for clarification on the above questions, but some of the answers may just need to be discovered in time. They certainly have my interest peaked.

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Barganic Alert: Green Mountain Organics 25% off woolens through July 31st

Green Mountain Organics

When the children were attending a Waldorf school, outdoor time was a very big part of the curriculum. Over and over we heard repeated, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” The phrase underscored the idea that the school children needed to be well-suited for fun outside regardless of what Mother Nature had thrown their way. It quickly became important for us to source out wool or silk long johns, balaclavas, and other clothing to keep the kids warm throughout the cold Midwest winters. Our children continue to be nature-lovers, and we never want inadequate clothing to prevent them from enjoying time exploring and playing outside in all seasons.

Although cold, snowy days are still (hopefully) months away, sometimes it can really pay to plan ahead. Green Mountain Organics is rewarding their “forward-thinking” customers with a great sale on organic silk and wool underwear, outerwear, and diaper gear. With sizes for babies to adults, Green Mountain Organics is ready to provide that needed extra layer to keep everyone warm indoors or out this winter. Through July 31st they are offering 25% off their organic cotton, wool, silk, and wool and silk blend clothes in baby, child, and adult sizes from brands like Lanacare, Hocosa and Ruskovilla. Discount pricing is already reflected online, and prices will adjust back to full retail on August 1st.

I know that when that first cold snap hits, I always feel better knowing that I have the woolens on hand and ready to go so that we can have fun outside. What are some of your favorite winter activities to do outdoors with your kids?

**Barganic Alerts are an effort to spread awareness about affordable crunchy goods and services. They are not endorsements, nor am I compensated in any way. They tend to be time-limited, and often go quickly. To make sure you are always in the know, subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to receive emails of all Barganic Alerts as soon as they are posted**

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Barganic Alerts: What they are and why I strive to highlight affordable healthy living


PinkMoose / Foter / CC BY

You may have noticed that I post a lot of “Barganic Alerts” and that may have you wondering what they are and why I bother making such a fuss about them. Bargainic Alert is a term that I coined when I started writing this blog in its first iteration back in 2007, before the crash (read more about that here). I developed the term to clarify that I was pointing out a good or even great deal on an organic, eco-friendly, or otherwise crunchy product. The reason that it was, and continues to be especially important for me to broadcast these deals is because making healthy, green, crunchy choices often comes at a higher price point than more conventional ones. As a result, families may shy away from crunchy practices not because they are not interested, but because they get sticker shock, feel financially overwhelmed, and just conclude that crunchy options are too expensive to be available to them.

I really want people to have access to the choices that they wish to make, and that they believe are the best fit for their families. My children and I often have discussions about needing to allocate resources mindfully; to find a balance between time, talent, money, and desire. Everyone, no matter what their station in life will find at times that they want more than they have, or that their resources will allow. They then get to decide where they want to channel their time, talent, and money; and which desires are worth striving for, or living without.

In the case of my family, Rich and I both worked and put ourselves through graduate and professional school in the earlier years of our marriage and family, leaving us with very little disposable income. In addition, we have always been a single income family. My employment was a condition of my graduate studies, and thus did not pay for much more than the cost of tuition compensation or the expense of daycare to allow me to be there to complete my degree once Eva was born. As with most single income families, my being home with the kids comes with a tradeoff; there is less money in the bank account. Three years ago, when Rich was laid off from his job, we were suddenly a zero income family (save unemployment) with no idea of how long it would be before new employment would be found. Moreover, we were still reeling from the medical expenses of my cancer treatment on the heels of a high risk pregnancy and delivery. We were scrutinizing every expenditure that we made, and trying our hardest to make every purchasing choice a wise one. I say this not to elicit sympathy; we are fine and grateful, and Rich is happily employed once again. My point however, is that there are ways to be crunchy and live frugally at the same time; that living a more natural, attachment-friendly lifestyle can and should be available to those who want it, regardless of wealth. Hence, me shouting from the hilltops when I have a Barganic Alert to share.

The first crunchy bargain that I can remember finding was at a children’s resale event. I did not even have any children yet (I’m always one to plan ahead,) still I could not resist this sweet little soft doll with knotted hands and a gentle face. Not being familiar with Waldorf Education at the time either, I did not know that I was face-to-face with a Waldorf blanket doll, or that the $1 price tag was a steal, but he came home with me nevertheless. About a year later when I was newly pregnant with Eva, a visit to a children’s resale store introduced me to a gorgeous Maya Wrap sling for $10 that I went on to use to wear all three of my children.

Ready to rock the 4th of July in the Maya Wrap

Ready to rock the 4th of July in the Maya Wrap

I continued to keep my eyes out for crunchy bargains as I prepared for Eva’s birth. I knew that I wanted to use cloth diapers, but was overwhelmed by the cost. I poured over diaper sites looking for deals so that I could amass a usable system (daycare would use pocket dipes for her but they weren’t going to be bikini twisting any prefolds). I built up my stash with a dozen precious Kissaluvs size 0s and larger sizes that I got on sale for being second quality, Fuzzibunz seconds where the print was sewn inside out, hemp prefolds that were stitched in slightly the wrong dimensions, and ProRaps diaper cover seconds that had mildly wonky stitching. Everything was new, adorable, and still worked just fine, they were just a little less pretty to the trained eye.

Years later, I stocked the play kitchen with small dishes and wooden bowls found at the thrift store, bought a deeply discounted Moby Wrap in a style being discontinued on Amazon, and snapped up organic cotton sheet sets and blankets for the whole family when a company had a closeout sale (the latter was a Barganic Alert from years ago). I looked for ways to support health and beauty for my family and in our home that resonated with an attachment parenting lifestyle, yet still worked within our minimal budget. I participated in many mama swaps where crunchy goods, crafts, or talents were traded. I have organized and joined co-ops and CSAs. I have filled my gardens and pantry by participating in seed, plant, and food swaps. I treasure every crunchy bargain that I have ever gotten. I see it as the Universe and I being in partnership toward providing my family the crunchy lifestyle that I think fits us. It is my absolute commitment. I honestly believe that where there is a will, there is a way.

Now all of this is not to say that I don’t buy crunchy products at full retail as well. I absolutely do, and I believe that it is important to support companies whose products we value with our dollars when we can. In addition, I try to “pay it forward” when I get a good deal by sharing it with others, but also by advertising the product (and crunchy choices in general). I cannot tell you the number of people who have stopped me over the years and asked me about that $10 Maya Wrap sling or that sale Moby as I wore my babies in them; who chatted with me about cloth diapers after seeing me pull one from the diaper bag and demystify the idea of cloth. I know that there have been many slings, wraps, and cloth diapers purchased by families who saw me using mine, and who let me tell them all about, and show them how to use them.

As I said before, we all have to allocate out time, talents, and money. For some, I hope that Barganic Alerts will make you aware of a great company or resource that was previously unfamiliar to you, whether you take advantage of the deal or not. For others, it may allow you to provide a crunchy treasure for your family that might otherwise have been beyond your reach. If you all lived nearby I’d tell you when organic stone fruit or berries were on sale at the grocery store too, and we could all make jam together. I’d send out an alert when my friends were putting together a group order for raw, organic, local honey. We could start a really great co-op. Since we don’t all share the same neighborhood, broadcasting Barganic Alerts to my online crunchy community is the best that I can do for now.

Barganic Alerts are generally precious and limited. Some are first come, first served. Others may be for a brief period of time. I think that they are usually pretty fantastic, and I often take advantage of them for myself and my family. If you want to make sure that you do not miss out on a Barganic Alert, I encourage you to subscribe to CrunchyParent.com so that you can be emailed directly whenever I post a new alert. If you tend to spend more time on Twitter or Pinterest, you can subscribe to me there too as Crunchy_Parent and I will do my best to tweet and pin the Barganic Alerts as well so that you are sure to see them.

If you see a great bargain on a crunchy product or service that you think is worth sharing, please let us all know. Comment here, send a tweet, or email me directly at crunchyparent@sbcglobal.net.

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The Cosmic Box Subscription Box Unboxing and Review-July 2015 (relaxation)

The Cosmic Box July 2015 Box

The Cosmic Box is a recently launched indie subscription service aimed at sending you a cosmically amazing care package for the soul. This lifestyle box is curated by a holistic nurse, and is designed for the free-spirited and eco-conscious. Each box includes a mix of 3-6 trial and full size products, or 1-2 luxury full size items. Every box is hand packed and sent with heaps of love. You will find items ranging from toxin free skin care, organic/gmo free artisan edibles, unique home goods, gems and more. A portion of the sale from every box goes to support a charity, which varies from month-to-month. The July box sales supported the charity Wild Aid, whose mission is to end illegal wildlife trading.

Boxes cost $29 per month, which includes shipping, and are less with multi-month subscriptions. Right now, first time subscribers can use the code FIRSTBOX to receive 20% off of their first month’s subscription.

I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing which features my sweet middle child this month, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came well-packaged in a small box, distinguished by a cute owl “The Cosmic Box” sticker. Everything arrived to me safe and intact. The July box featured a relaxation theme.
As you can see in the video, one of the first things that I noticed upon opening the box was how wonderful it all smelled. I am very sensitive and responsive to scents. I love subscribing to crunchy-friendly subscription boxes, knowing that the great smells will be all-natural and not headache-inducing for me. I always enjoy taking that first sniff of every box. This one was really fantastic, and did trigger a relaxed and happy vibe. The box smelled like sassafras, lemon grass, and other such deliciousness.
The Cosmic Box July 2015 Free GWP

I had only recently discovered The Cosmic Box, but when I stumbled across them they were advertising a promotion for a free pair of handcrafted earrings with a new subscription. I could not pass it up, and was thrilled when I opened the box and found these beautiful copper lotus petal earrings from Bright Star & Buffalo (value $25.00). They are delicate, nature-themed, and completely my style. This promotion is no longer available and this free gift with purchase was not included in all of the July boxes. What was included in all of the July boxes was an information card describing the box contents and letting you know where you can follow The Cosmic Box on social media.

The Cosmic Box July 2015 sweetgrass and tea

Among the first items that I saw in the box was a long braid of what appeared to be dried grass, but smelled far better than any grass I’ve even encountered. It turns out that it was a 12” braid of Washington grown sweetgrass, something that I had never seen before. According to The Cosmic Box’s website, sweetgrass has been enjoyed historically for it’s calming, clearing and spiritual properties. They describe the scent as sweet, warm, and vanilla-like, although I personally thought that it smelled sweet and mildly woodsy with a hint of licorice. The Cosmic Box recommend using the sweetgrass for smudging, or for just resting in a bowl. I did try lighting the sweetgrass, but did not find the smoke to be as fragrant or pleasant as the dried grass itself. That said, after seeing this Organic Authority article that The Cosmic Box mentioned on their site, I realize that I did not follow the proper sweetgrass smudging instructions. I may have burned a part of the braid that was too dry to provide a fragrant smoke. I will need to try again. I do not know the exact value of the sweetgrass included in the box, but I found this source, suggesting an approximate retail value of $1.30 for a single braid.

Also discovered in the box was a deluxe sample size tin of six pyramid-shaped, compostable tea bags by indie brand Flying Bird Botanicals. The Peaceful Spirit tea is mixed by hand; blending organic and wild crafted herbs such as lemon balm, rosemary, and gotu kola, which is then packaged in a recyclable tin (value, $9.00) The Cosmic Box also included a code for 10% off purchases at Flying Bird Botanicals.

The Cosmic Box July 2015 serum and candle

The next item in the box was Blissoma’s Stress Relief Serum (full size, value $10.99). Packaged in a glass roll-on vial, this blend is perfect to pop in my purse to have on-hand when I need a bit of calm. According to Blissoma, the serum blends three forms of chamomile with peppermint, lavender, and ginger to help cool and calm. It is recommended to ease muscle tension and headaches. I grabbed for it when I was feeling a headache coming on the other day and applied it to my temples and at the base of my head. After rubbing it in a bit, I found the cooling sensation and the uplifting fragrance helpful. As an aside, one of the three forms of chamomile used in the serum is chamomile CO2. If you watched my recent Kings Road Apothecary unboxing, you know that I spied coconut CO2 in the ingredients there. According to the Blissoma site, the CO2 extract is the most true, concentrated, and clean essence of a plant. It seems to be the latest, greatest plant ingredient that is just popping up everywhere.

The final treasure that I again smelled before I saw, was a small tea light candle (approx. .5 oz.; value $2.50) by indie brand House of Good Juju. Handcrafted during the New Moon, the Aura Cleansing candle blends soy wax with dried herbs, crystals, and essential oils. It is designed to help balance and cleanse your aura to allow for better flow of positive energy. This candle was beautiful and smelled divine. I personally recognized the lemongrass scent as a standout as it is one of my favorite scents. I said in the video that I was going to wait to burn the candle until after our move next month but I just couldn’t. I lit the candle while writing this review and enjoyed the scent greatly. I will look forward to using this in our new home when I feel a need for balancing or to prepare for yoga or meditation. Interestingly, this same Aura Cleansing tea light from House of Good Juju was also included as a bonus item in the current BuddhiBox Jewelry subscription box. It is unusual for two identical items to overlap in subscription boxes at the same time, so I thought that was noteworthy, although certainly not a big deal. The Cosmic Box also included a code for 10% off purchases at House of Good Juju.

The Cosmic Box appears to be another option among the growing trend of subscription boxes focused on positive energy, natural healing, and zen. I thought that the box was well curated and represented the relaxation theme, in addition to The Cosmic Box’s overall mission. I like that The Cosmic Box gives a portion of the sale of each box to charity, and would love to see a little information about the chosen charity included in the box. I think that it can be easy to forget the charity piece when unboxing if it is not mentioned, and it is such a nice part of the box’s concept.

The overall value of this month’s box, excluding my free promotional gift was approximately $23.79, which is lower than I’d like to see for the $29.00 purchase price. The free gift promotion more than doubled the value of the box, however so I do feel like I got very good value in that respect. Despite the less-than-impressive dollar value, I really liked everything included in the box and thought that it was a good fit for my lifestyle. I have already put many of the items to use and discovered new brands that I probably would not have found otherwise. Not only is The Cosmic Box an indie subscription box option, but they appear to go out of their way to promote other indie businesses. As with making conscious choices to support small business, indie subscription boxes mean that you are often supporting an individual or family-owned business. The Cosmic Box seems to strive to go a step beyond by paying the small business concept forward to other indie brands and to promote charities as well. I think that this adds “cosmic” value to the purchase. I am curious to learn more about this box in the months ahead. What did you think about the July Cosmic Box?

If you would like to see the most recent Crunchy Parent List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

**Note, item value for the House of Good Juju candle was provided to CrunchyParent.com by Kat, founder of The Cosmic Box, for the purpose of reporting in this review**

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Barganic Alert: Try the New GlobeIn Benefit Basket Subscription and Get One Month Free

GlobeIn Benefit Basket

In the most recent update of the Crunchy Parent Guide to Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes I highlighted a new offering from the subscription service GlobeIn. GlobeIn has historically offered an “Artisan” Basket subscription which includes 4-6 artisan-made products from around the world (a “globe in a box”) packaged in a Mexican palm leaf basket, as well as a story about the crafters supported by your purchase. The Artisan subscription costs $35/month.

This month, GlobeIn launched their new “Benefit” level subscription. At $19.99/month the Benefit Basket packages one handcrafted item from a remote artisan in a signature Mexican palm leaf basket, along with the story of the crafter.

Through July 30th, GlobeIn is offering a discount to their three month Benefit Basket subscription, making the first basket free. The three month subscription already offers a reduction off of the month-to-month price, but using the link or coupon code BENEFIT will drop the price of a three month subscription to $37.95, or just $12.65 per month for your first three baskets. After receiving your first three baskets, the subscription will re-bill quarterly at the regular rate of $56.95 for three months. Please click the link for all of the details, and to subscribe.

This new subscription looks like a great way to sample the full GlobeIn Artisan experience at a lower price point, and this deal makes it even sweeter. Are you going to give the new Benefit Basket a try?

Make sure that you don’t miss out on any Barganic Alerts, these babies tend to be time-limited. Subscribe to Crunchyparent.com to always be the first to know!

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My Bagel Smash Breakfast: Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Gluten free bagel toast smash

Has the toast smash craze swept it’s way to your neck of the woods? The basic premise is that toast tastes even more delicious if you pile a bunch of goodies on top, especially if one of those goodies in a smashed avocado. The idea has crept its way into my kitchen, but this time the avocado has selected a gluten free bagel as its canvas.

The recipe is very simple, and of course it is just one of countless bagel smash possibilities. The avocado’s healthy fats give a real boost to breakfast to help fuel the morning. So here we go.

Bagel Smash Ingredients

Ingredients:

1/2 bagel (I used Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain bagels)
2 eggs (I recommend organic if you can)
1/3 medium avocado
oil for frying
salt and or pepper to taste

Extra virgin olive oil is getting increasing attention as not being the best choice for high heat cooking applications. I love EVOO and use it in salad dressings and when roasting vegetables at lower temperatures, but for pan frying and other higher-temperature cooking I increasingly opt for grape seed oil or avocado oil, which can take higher temperatures before reaching their smoke point. I used grape seed oil in this recipe, but I think I would grab avocado oil next time, in keeping with the avocado theme of the smash. Any neutrally flavored oil of your preference will do here though.

The first thing that you’re going to want to do is toast your bagel half and fry your eggs with a sprinkle of salt, both to your desired preference. I like my bagel light-to-medium and my eggs over easy-to-medium (I don’t like to be put in a box, what can I say)?.

Bagel Smash-frying eggs

While your eggs are frying, cut your avocado in half along the north and south poles (I used to think that this instruction was superfluous until I saw my husband cut avocados along the equator. It threw my entire Universe out of whack so I have since made it a life’s mission to promote correct avocado slicing). Moving along, scoop or slice out some of your avocado half and smoosh the avocado onto the bagel.

Bagel smash-avocado smooshing

Now you take those perfectly fried eggs and place them atop your bagel.

Bagel smash-eggs in place

Adjust salt and pepper and with great ceremony, pierce the yolks and smear them all around the top of the eggs (best part!) Dig in and enjoy. Easy right?

Bagel Smash-bite

So what are your favorite toast or bagel smashes? I’m always looking for new ideas.

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TBT: The Cancer Series-Part 1


Counse / Foter / CC BY

As I’ve mentioned before, this blog began in its original version back in 2007 when I was a crunchy parent trying to live a healthy and mindful life with my husband and two children. The blog got sidelined when we were faced with a series of health challenges that started in the summer of 2008. I kept thinking that life would settle down and I could return to my writing at CrunchyParent.com, but amidst the years of chaos we forgot to pay the annual web hosting fee. As a result, the blog content vanished. I had backed up some of my posts, but far from all. Those that I saved are on a computer that has been languishing in storage with the majority of our possessions while we have been living with my parents and house hunting these past nine months. I hope to retrieve and re-post some of what I had written in the past because I think that it provides context, perspective, and maybe even helpful information.

Until I am able to post some of the “greatest hits” from CrunchyParent.com of yesteryear, I wanted to periodically share some of what I had written on a private blog that I maintained through MyLifeLine.org, a free website service for individuals with cancer, back when I was going through my cancer treatment and early recovery. Although it has been almost five years since that time, so much of what I had written feels like yesterday to me. When I attend my Cancer Yoga classes or interact with others going through cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery right now I see so much of what I experienced; fear, uncertainty, confusion, loss. I feel a particular connection to parents of young children who are struggling to battle cancer while simultaneously trying to care for the needs of their kids, juggle work and financial demands, and plan for a future that has suddenly become unclear. Cancer survival statistics often only extend out for five years, which can seem especially discouraging when you are in your twenties, thirties, or forties. I know that when I was first diagnosed, I was actively looking for survivors who had lived many years beyond their diagnosis. It gave me hope and a brighter vision for my future.

As I begin to approach that five year survival mark, I want to acknowledge how I felt when I was there, and also say that I am (very gratefully) still here, and plan to be here for a long time. If you have found your way to CrunchyParent.com because you or someone who you love is battling cancer right now, I hope that you find a connection and know that you are not alone. No one fights alone.

This post was initially written in January, 2011 about a month after I had received my diagnosis.

As many of you know, I spent much of last year on bed rest growing Asher into a strong and healthy baby. For the majority of those 166 days, I was in bed lounging on my left side and counting the milestones in his development. My most exciting activities were short walks to the bathroom and visits to see my various doctors. Somewhere in that time I began to notice that the front of my left thigh seemed to be raised relative to my right thigh. I speculated that maybe it was unequal muscle development since I was supporting all of my weight with my left side while my right side atrophied. I was also concerned that perhaps it was a blood clot from excessive horizontal time. I showed the raised area to several of my doctors but they did not seem impressed, so I dismissed it as another pregnancy-related oddity.

With Asher’s birth came great joy and an intense desire to make up for time lost stuck in the house. The kids kept me busy and I was also going to physical therapy 1-2 times/week to recover some of the strength and mobility lost to the pregnancy complications. I thought that maybe PT would resolve the “leg lump” as I came to call it, but the months wore on and there was still no improvement. In fact it seemed that the lump was getting in my way even more, and limiting my range of motion. I asked my PTs to weigh in with thoughts and they speculated that it was an unresolved hematoma and referred me to my primary care doc. This move earned me an MRI which revealed a large mass in my thigh muscle. I was told to see a doctor who, “is familiar with tumors” and sat waiting for the first available appointment with an orthopedic oncologist.

Once the first available appointment rolled around, things began to move rather quickly. I met with the doctor on Monday, Dec. 20th, had a biopsy on Tuesday the 21st, and received my official diagnosis on Wednesday, December 22nd. To my great surprise, I was diagnosed with a low grade myxoid liposarcoma; a rare cancer of the soft tissues. Thursday, December 23rd was a CT scan to see if the cancer had spread elsewhere, and then we waited and waited and waited for results (note: try to avoid being diagnosed with cancer just prior to major holidays). Fortunately, the cancer did not appear to have spread and I was given a stage 1B (“B” for, “Boy, that’s a mighty big tumor you have there.”).

Since my diagnosis I have met with two radiation oncologists and also received a second surgical opinion from an orthopedic oncologist. Our good friend at a respected cancer institute has also been weighing in with his sage advice and bending the ears of the sarcoma specialists out there. It has been recommended by all that I undergo a 5-week course (25 rounds) of radiation to help define the margins around the tumor and then have surgery to remove the tumor after a 3-4 week rest period (to allow residual swelling to subside). I am told that following this course of treatment should result in an 80-90% chance that I will not have the cancer reappear within a 5-year time period. I personally am interested in the statistics for a 50 year time period but I have yet to find them, so I guess we’ll just aim for five years at a time.

I began radiation on January 13th. So far things are rolling along fairly smoothly as we adjust and try to manage the logistical odds and ends. I have been touched by all of the support that we have received from family and friends far and wide. With all of the changes that have been going on I am finding it increasingly challenging to return emails and phone calls in a timely fashion so I am hoping that I can post updates here to help keep people accurately informed and streamline my “workload.” Please know that I receive, read, and appreciate all of your messages and forgive me if I do not get to reply to each and every one.

***As a final note, although the girls know that I am getting “special” medicine and will need to have surgery on the bump in my leg, we have not used the word cancer with them. Cancer is hard enough for adults to manage emotionally and we’d prefer to save the girls from the stress of worrying unnecessarily about my health and future right now, since we have every reason to be optimistic about a cure. We would appreciate if you would please be sensitive around their little ears.***

Thank you!
-Corrie (and Rich and the rest)

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Barganic Alert: Starlight Stitches Closeout Sale

Starlight Stitches closeout sale

It is always sad to see a crunchy-friendly store transitioning out of business for whatever reason they choose to close their doors. Starlight Stitches has decided that the time has come for them to close up their New Mexico shop to focus attention more on their own handmade product line. They would like to pass along their inventory at a discount rather than hold onto it in storage. The selection is limited and going fast, but there are great deals to be had on Bummis cloth diaper covers, Waldorf dolls, Kathe Kruse toys, and amazing organic clothing “grab bags” grouped by size and gender, among other treasures. I personally snapped up some Kathe Kruse items and a girly grab bag for my new baby niece at a fraction of retail pricing. I was beyond delighted with the beautiful items that I received (pictured above). Act quickly though, inventory is moving fast.

Remember to subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to be notified first when there is a new Barganic Alert announcing an organic or otherwise crunchy-friendly bargain. These deals tend to be time limited, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

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Barganic Alert: Goodebox ANFGB Deluxe Beauty Box Available for Purchase Today at 10am CDT

Goodebox ANFGB Box #4

I for one am counting the days until August 6th when the Third Annual “A Night for Green Beauty” (ANFGB) brings a slew of fantastic and amazing green beauty brands to Chicago to meet their adoring fans and fans-to be (which will include me!). For those who cannot wait, or who will not be lucky enough to be in attendance, Goodebox has come to the rescue.

Included on the Crunchy Parent List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, Goodebox is a monthly subscription service, which sends healthy beauty, personal care, and wellness items to their subscribers. In anticipation and celebration of ANFGB, Goodebox is offering a series of very limited edition deluxe boxes featuring ANFGB brands. Box #4 in a series of five limited edition boxes will be available for purchase beginning today (Thursday) at 10:00 am CDT.

The box costs $145, which includes shipping and will feature four full size individual products and one, Beach Bombshell Box set with six full size products, for a total of ten full size products. Be sure to check out the full description of the box for specific details about all of the amazing green beauty items included. The retail value of the items included exceeds $300, and the box is sure to sell out very quickly. Products have been donated by the manufacturers and all proceeds from sales will go to support the No Barriers Youth Experience. These limited edition boxes are one-time purchases and will not initiate a Goodebox subscription.

Are you as tempted as I am? Will you be making it out to A Night for Green Beauty?

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Kings Road Apothecary Herbal Subscription Box Unboxing and Review-July 2015 (Lime and Coconut)

I took advantage of the Spring Solstice sale at Kings Road Apothecary in March and signed up for a multi-month subscription to the “Surprise Box,” which brought the individual box price down to $47.38 each including shipping. Each monthly box features four herbally-based, small-batch, handcrafted items that center around a theme. Box pricing recently increased to $53.50 plus shipping when ordered individually, but multi-month subscriptions include shipping. The July theme was “lime and Coconut.” As of this writing the July box is still available for purchase as is the August box. More details about the August box below. To see my other Kings Road Apothecary unboxing and reviews from prior months, look here.

Please enjoy the complete unboxing video, with my oldest child Eva as the special guest star. If you prefer to skip right to the photos and the nitty gritty, keep scrolling down. Also, if you are newer to herbalism and herbal-based products, I have explained many frequently-used herbalism terms in the Crunchy Parent Herbal 101: Glossary of Common and Unusual Herbalism Terms and 50+ Great Ideas for Using Herbs.

Kings Road Aothecary July 2015 Subscription Box Enclosures

The box came with the entire contents wrapped in a hand-dyed piece of seafoam green cotton muslin and tied with kitchen twine. All items were carefully protected with bubble wrap, individually wrapped in green-themed coordinated tissue paper, and tied with kitchen twine. In addition to the four herbal items, the box also came with a copy of a beautiful drawing of a beachy palm tree scene penned by Rebecca exclusively for this box. On the back of the drawing was a recipe for the spiced hibiscus syrup and for a hibiscus mojito. In addition, there was a letter from Rebecca describing the box contents, and an invitation to post box images on instagram to enter to win a little gift.

Kings Road Apothecary July 2015 Subscription Box-Lime and Coconut

As I’ve mentioned before, each month Rebecca picks the theme for the box, gathers plant material and takes the month to reflect on the plants and experiment with new recipes for products. Her four favorites end up in the box. This month’s winners started with a small (2 oz.?) bottle of spiced hibiscus syrup. This is the same syrup that was included as a recipe on the back of the drawing. I am delighted that Rebecca shared the recipe because this syrup is beautiful and delicious. I can see it making its way into a lot of summer drink recipes, including the Hibiscus Mojito recipe, also included on the back of the enclosed drawing. Unfortunately, the syrup was also leaky. It tended to cling to the threads on the screw top so that when the cap was removed, the syrup ran down the bottle. This was managed (and enjoyed) via licking fingers as shown in the video, but was a bit sticky. This syrup is unique and exclusive to the box so the value is unknown.

Next in the box was a dropper bottle of Lime and Bay Leaf Bitters. This blend of vodka, lime, star anise, gentian root, and two varieties of bay will help to stimulate and aid in digestion, or can be used to flavor cocktails. I enjoyed the sour lime flavor, grounded by the bay and other herbs and spices. This exact variety of bitters was exclusive to the box, but similar ones can be found at Kings Road Apothecary here (1 oz. retail value $15.00).

Kings Road Apothecary Subscription Box July 2015 lime and coconut

The other two items included a deluxe sample size of Summer Glow: Lime and Coconut Body Oil (1 oz. retail value $13.00). The oil is light and super-moisturizing, with gold micro shimmer for a summer glow. It contains coconut Co2, which was an ingredient that I had not heard of before. After putting my finely-tuned Googling skills to work, I learned that coconut CO2 is the product of extracting coconut oil from coconut pulp with carbon dioxide. The resulting coconut CO2 preserves the luscious coconut aroma, allowing for a natural coconut scent to be added to body care products. All I can say is that the body oil smells really yummy. It reminds me of key lime shortbread cookies, although Eva thought that it smelled like pumpkin and cardamom (she must be missing fall). In any case, I think that the oil is glowy, moisturizing, and deliciously scented; making it perfect for using after a relaxing day at the beach.

The final item was a deluxe sample size of Coconut and Vanilla Sugar Scrub (4 oz., value $12.50). Rebecca had mentioned on Facebook that during the experimental process in preparing for the box, she had initially added more essential oils to this sugar scrub. In making the batch for the boxes, she was so struck by the delicious scent of the sugar, coconut, and vanilla that she decided to stop there. I think that was an excellent choice because this smells just. so. good. I made everyone who I could find take a sniff. We had differing opinions as to whether it smelled like macaroons, cookie dough, frosting, etc. We agreed that it smelled like something that you’d want to eat with a spoon. I fully intend to squirrel this away until we move next month and I luxuriate in the master bathroom (and bathtub) that I have pined for. I’m not going to leave it until I am all pruney and smell exactly like this sugar scrub. As of this writing, this scrub is not available for purchase, but you can find similar products on the KRA site here.

Kings Road Apothecary July 2015

I always enjoy receiving my Kings Road Apothecary boxes. Compared to other boxes they may seem like a bit of a splurge because there is not a dramatic item value relative to the price paid as is typical of more mainstream beauty boxes. That said, they are so beautifully curated and crafted. I find the contents so inspiring for my own herbal creations, and I discover new products and ingredients to incorporate into the things that I make (going to get my hands onto some of that coconut CO2). I also appreciate receiving Rebecca’s email newsletter that talks about the theme of the month while she works on creating the recipes for the boxes. I feel like I learn so much about plants and their uses, and I get better acquainted with plants that are not native to my region (signup for the newsletter here; no purchase necessary). Additionally, I think that there is something special about discovering and receiving indie subscription boxes in the mix of crunchy-friendly subscription boxes that I receive. Not only are you supporting a small business, generally run by one person or family, but you are also discovering products and companies that will only be found there, not across other subscription box services. Something about that feels exclusive and precious.

At this moment, the July Kings Road Apothecary box is still available on the KRA site. The August box with a Cactus and Cool theme is currently available for preorder and is scheduled to ship for arrival around August 24th. The box will include four herbal items for home, health, or body. The four items in the box may be chosen from among the following list of brainstormed items (or may be some related spontaneous brilliant idea): Shimmering coconut + cactus facial serum, Nopal and hibiscus white tea, a summer cold infusion blend, Cactus and coconut after-sun potion, a calming summer heat elixir, Cactus fruit liqueur, Prickly pear + cucumber facial mist, Cactus + rose burn and wound powder (great for sunburn, or as an addition to your first aid kit), Cactus flower gut healing tea, Prickly pear + hibiscus flower face cream, or Rose + cactus flower elixir.

As a reminder the KRA boxes are made using wild crafted ingredients. In an effort to support plant sustainability in harvesting, only a limited number of boxes are available each month. Are you going to grab a July box before they are gone? Does Cactus and Cool sound like it will hit the spot for August?

If you would like to see my most recent comprehensive listing of “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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